Spring Food Truck Festival will feature more than 20 trucks, all-day music and recreation

(Cydney McFarland/DD)
Mojo Bowl, a food truck specializing in handmade all-natural smoothies, will be one of many attending the Spring Food Truck Festival. Cuisine will range from barbecue to grilled cheese. (Cydney McFarland/DD)

The inaugural Spring Food Truck Festival will feature more than 20 established food trucks with everything from barbecue cuisine to gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.

Located in the Park Central Mall parking lot, the festival will take place on Saturday, April 20, and will combine music and food for the Phoenix community. Mega 104.3 radio and 101.1 The Beat will be there, and admission and parking will be free.

“We want people to come out and enjoy the last week of warm weather,” said Kim Cobb, owner of Luncha Libre food truck, which will be at the event. “We are just trying to expose good street food.”

Spring Food Truck Festival will be similar to the weekly downtown gathering Food Truck Friday. The upcoming festival, however, will last all day and feature jewelry, crafts, personal training, face painting and massage booths, Cobb said.

“We are really trying to promote it to families and looking to revitalize the area,” Cobb said.

Cobb also mentioned that she wanted to bring a stronger local presence to the area because it is right off of the Central Avenue and Thomas Road light rail stop.

Event organizer Jennifer Cisneros said she expected more than 1,500 people to attend.

“Food trucks are so popular now, so our whole basis was about getting the word out and having a good time,” Cisneros said.

Cobb said in addition to food trucks and musical entertainment, Coors Light will sponsor a beer garden. Half the proceeds from the beer sales will go toward Chicanos Por La Causa, a nonprofit Hispanic social services agency, Cisneros said.

Mojo Bowl food truck owner Scott Schraml, who sells handmade all-natural smoothies, said he hoped the festival will allow him to offer new products to the area, which currently has a Starbucks and Jamba Juice. He said he is excited to travel to a different location and meet new people in the process.

“The feedback that people are giving me is that they like supporting local business,” he said. “I try to add the personal element and I love getting to know people.”

Schraml said he hoped the festival will remove the “roach-coach” perception of food trucks from people’s minds and that people will be pleasantly surprised by the gourmet food trucks.

Short Leash Hot Dogs, a popular food truck among many Phoenix residents, will not be present at the event. Cisneros said she sees this as an opportunity for other food trucks to familiarize themselves with the community and benefit in sales.

“There is always one food truck that’s more popular than others,” Cisneros said. “People are going to have to try different food trucks that they might not usually try.”

Many of the food trucks are in the Phoenix Street Food Coalition.

New to the Phoenix food truck scene, The Grilled Cheese Truck expanded its business from the Los Angeles area. Booking manager Chris Walker said even though the franchise is not part of the Street Food Coalition, The Grilled Cheese Truck will be participating in the festival.

“Festivals are our bread and butter,” said Walker, who hopes to gain some new customers for his business, which currently has no static locations.

Walker said there are significantly fewer food trucks in Phoenix than in Los Angeles, but the level of gourmet food is equal. He said, competition aside, the more food trucks that help the movement, the better the mobile food concept will be for everyone.

The festival will be located in the southeast parking lot of the mall on Central Avenue between Thomas and Osborn roads. It will last from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“If it goes well, we hope this can become an annual event,” Cisneros said.

Correction: March 30, 2013

A previous version of this article said 15,000 people were expected to attend the event.

Contact the reporter at nbarret1@asu.edu